Whilst taking my son to his football match the other day we were discussing nerves as he always gets the jitters before a game , despite always playing his best.
'Did you get nervous before playing a show in the band? ' he asked
And I really had to stop myself from saying
"Literally shit myself'
I mean , apart from the fact that was ACTUALLY true a few times for reasons of over indulgence / illness -
Some people don't seem to get it , but I was always terrible with nerves ...
My pre gig routine slowly came back to me -
1) Arrive at the venue with the awful knowledge that , barring an act of God or death , you WILL be getting up and prancing about like a tit in front of many people and hoping they like it .
2) During soundcheck realise that your throat is red raw , you cant hear fuck all except the drums and you are dog tired .. it then dawns on you that for the most part you rely entirely on adrenaline - and that you have woefully little at this point .. it is around now the stomach monster gives you your first gurgle .
3) Now begins the long process of 'Hurry up and wait' - there is literally NOTHING to do now for the interceding hours except ruminate on how tired you are , how shit you feel , why you didnt try harder at school? and why you are completely unprepared for doing the show - despite having done it night in night out for month after month
4) Food will be offered on the rider - but the stomach monster is close friends with the Arsehole monster and he gives him a good hard nudge at this point - I would now enter what I like to call 'The Circle of Poop' ... this is the revolving door of ever increasing problematic and unruly shits - this crescendos as showtime approaches , giving you the added pressure of the 'Have I got time for one more ?' thing right up to the moment you go on - its worth noting some people are poo'ers .. some are pissers .... I have even know PUKERS .. But I was a poop man - every hour or so , then half hour , then what feels like by the minute .. the constant back and forth to the dressing room shitter is the body's way of telling the brain it hates its guts for putting it through this .
5) Then the 'Great Pace' begins ... the continual walking about, unable to sit down for more than a minute back & forth. Carpets have been destroyed , ruts worn into concrete and decent trainers shredded by the amount of nervy miles wracked up by bands in dressing rooms .. put it this way - if people then had been as obsessed with their 'daily steps' as they are now ? .. someone would be making a fucking fortune just getting them to do a show twice a week and be clocking up thousands of foot miles in the process.
6) The finale:
This is the very last stage in the process - usually occurring as you walk onstage , for although you are walking confidently like the lord of all you survey - the mind is racing over the count in , lyrics, leads to not get entangled in etc. etc . etc. like a neurotic pensioner - almost incidentally it is at PRECISELY this moment your bladder starts acting like a pensioners too and your it's normal youthful elasticity turns into a sort of drenched sponge falling from the top of a building .. the cheering gets louder , the feedback wails , you hear the click of the high hats counting in the first song and you inhale a huge breath feeling like an electrified coiled spring -
and then you think
"shit - did some wee just come out? "
I actually cannot wait to do it again